Poverty in Togo between 2006 and 2011: Accounting for Differences in Poverty Rates and the Role of Economic Growth

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Yao Nukunu, Golo
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African Economic Research Consortium
As is the case of other countries, Togo committed itself, at the Millennium Summit, to halving poverty rates by 2015. Despite the efforts Togo has made to this end, poverty levels remain high in the country as evidenced by the high poverty rate of 57.8% in 2011. This slow pace in poverty reduction raises the issue of how well the poverty phenomenon is understood in Togo. To contribute to a better understanding of the situation, this study sought to explain the strong disparities that exist between rural and urban areas and shed light on the contribution of economic growth and income redistribution to the poverty phenomenon. The study uses data obtained from the surveys conducted in Togo in 2006 and 2011 using the Questionnaire on the Basic Indicators of Well-being (Questionnaire Unifié des Indicateurs de Base du Bien-être, QUIBB). It followed the methodological approach used by Shorrocks (1999) to analyse economic growth and income redistribution, and that used by Blinder-Oaxaca (1973) to account for the differences in poverty rates between rural and urban areas. The study analyses growth and redistribution between the two reference years, and shows that strong economic growth is needed for any significant reduction in poverty to occur. However, growth has to be complemented with pro-poor redistribution policies. The poverty differences observed between Togo’s rural and urban areas are accounted for by disparities in the resources available for the two areas. This suggests that, since they are essential for poverty reduction, government interventions aimed at increasing the quantity of such resources in the rural areas should be given greater priority than those aimed at improving their quality.
Poverty, Blinder-Oaxaca, Pro-poor redistribution